Acharya Prashant: Yes, the topic is the infectiousness of boredom. Not only is boredom infectious, anything and everything that the mind experiences is contagious, infectious.
You experienced it with respect to one particular way of the mind, one particular move of the mind right now. That does not mean that only boredom is contagious, that rather means that right now there is a particular environment in which you could observe this particular infectiousness that affects the mind. It is happening at every moment.
Mind you, it has happened 300 times with you since this morning. But, you couldn’t notice it in the previous 299 occasions. So, the question to be asked is not whether boredom is infectious. Mind itself is an infection and acquisition, an import.
There is no way, in the mind, that arises on its own. Because on its own, anyway, the mind is nothing.
The mind operates in duality. And, duality is nothing on its own. One end is dependent on the other, just as much as is the other end dependent on the first one.
So, what is on its own?
Is the world on its own?
No, not really, the world is dependent on the mind.
Is the mind on its own?
No, not really, the mind is dependent on the world.
Where do both come from?
That will be answered when there is no mind to ask this question. That will be answered when there is no mind to receive the answer. And that’s a pretty impossible thing for the mind to grasp.
Ask yourself, why did it happen that since the morning you missed it 299 times? Since the morning you would have experienced shades of happiness, boredom, sadness, excitement, depression, frustration, ambition, hope, anxiety, playfulness, right? Each and everything that is possible to the mind keeps occurring, randomly. Why are we unable to observe that it is not arising from within, that it is just a reaction to some external stimulus. Why do we fail to detect that? That is one part.
Second, what is unique about this situation that you could indeed detect it now? That is a question to be asked. You see, we live lives like the crow bird does. You would have heard of that story, that is often narrated to kids. The cuckoo keeps its eggs in the crow nest. The crow is not watchful enough, not vigilant enough. Lacks in discretion – Vivek.
The cuckoo does not ask, does not inquire, “Are these eggs my own?” Or, does the… crow does then? It keeps looking after protecting, nursing those eggs, as its own. Only to be disappointed later on. In the moment when she is caring for those objects, she is very sure that they have arisen from her own self. Just as we get attached to our thoughts, the crow bird remains attached to those eggs. We remain attached to our thoughts precisely because we think that our thoughts, our mind is disturbance has its hope, its highs, and lows, its attachments, its likes, its dislikes are our…?
So, what does the crow bird think?
L: Eggs are mine.
AP: The poor female crow. And the Cuckoo, well she keeps on singing her way to fame. And the crow, lots of hard work and even bigger disappointment. Do we know whether that we consider as our own, is our own at all?
And I am not talking of property here. I am talking about somethng subtler than that. I am talking of the mind, I am talking of our inclinations, our attitudes, our opinions, our ideologies. Do they really really belong to us? The question is important because we invest a lot in them.
I read yesterday that a woman is ready to divorce her husband because he is not prepared to support a particular politician. The woman has a particular ideology. The woman is saying that this ideology is extremely important to her. Now, what enables the woman to say that? Her misplaced believe in the relation of the ideology to her own self. She believes that the ideology has…?
Listeners: Come from her self.
AP: Arisen from her…self. So, she takes the ideology as something very dear to her. So, she takes the ideology as more intimate to her than her…?
AP: Husband. So, she is saying, “Well, you know that…” Of course, that which is far away can always be sacrificed for the sake of that which is…?
AP: Closer. What is closer? My thoughts. My thoughts, over that politician. It doesn’t matter that whether the thoughts about a politician or about a sack of hay. The object is not material, what is material is that these thoughts are…?
AP: Mine. Now, these thoughts could be about anything, they could be of cow dung, how does it matter? They are…?
AP: My thoughts. They are my thoughts. It doesn’t matter what is the object of the thoughts. Whatever be the object, I have chosen the object.
Are we sure our thoughts are our thoughts? We invest really really so much in them. We talked of a case where a family was being disturbed because of ideology. That was just a starter. How about all the families that have started on the basis of ideology? Is that not a bigger tragedy? If disrupting a family based on ideology is tragic, is it not even more tragic to begin a family based on ideology? Is the family itself not an ideology? Yes?
And we invest ourselves so much in everything that is born out of thought. To a vast majority of human beings, what is a religion, except an ideology? To a vast majority of human beings is religion a relentless dive into the Truth? Is it? Or, is it about pursuing ideals, myths, codes of conduct, stories, thoughts? And don’t we give ourselves up to religion?
I am not only talking of established religions. I am also talking of the prevalent religions that have not been so far accepted as religious religions. I am talking of greed, I am talking of career, I am talking of progress, I am talking of knowledgeability. One question – Had we not been told what to do, what could we have done? Now, don’t dismiss it as naive or childish, it’s an extremely important question. Because, like the crow bird, we might be investing our lives on something that is…
Listeners: Not our own.
AP: Not our own. So, I am asking had we not been told what to do, what would have been done? Come on, please..
Listener: Sir, we imitate whatever is around us.
AP: Yes, that is right.
Listener: we would have imitated whatever was around us at that particular time.
AP: Would it not be scary, if it turns out that even to not to imitate is an imitation? That, even the thought to not to imitate is an external insertion? Would it not be scary, that we have dumbed ourselves down under the weight of these imports, these layers of conditioning so much that even the thought, that these layers are loathsome, is now just an external thought?
I have a reason why I am saying this. Had we really recognized that these are external, could we really spot that out, then, we would have so far gotten rid of that which is external and yet sitting upon us. Please see where I am coming from. We say, we imitate, had we really really known — and the stress is on the word ‘known’, the ‘knowing’ that I am talking of is a different quality, it’s real — had we really really known that we imitate, would we be still be imitating? I am asking this.
But, we keep imitating and yet say that we know that we imitate. Now surely then this knowing that we imitate is also not at all real. This is…
AP: This also an import. Now, is that not scary? Even the thought that we are conditioned is a conditioned thought. So, what are we left with? What are we left with?
Listener: Sir, there is a same situation that we are inside the boundary we are talking of something outside of the boundary.
AP: Of course, because inside the boundary is kept one holy book that tells you fancy stories about the situation outside the boundary. Inside the boundary is kept a holy book and also set some great guru who keeps on telling us fancy stories about what lives outside. So, dispite sitting here we are knowledgeable in our own mind. As per our own claims about what lies there, what lies beyond, “Oh, we know what heaven is like. Oh, we know what is it means to transcend.”
You are in college right (Pointing to a listener)? Of course, you will be entering in college. Virgins talk so much about sex right? Don’t they in college.
Listener: Yes, they do.
AP: That’s it. Sitiing virgin you talk so much about sex. Sitting in the room you talk so much about what lies outside.
Listener: We don’t have anything of our own? We don’t do anything of our own?
AP: That is not a relevant question, the relevant question is, are even these words your own? It is not material whether so far we have lived a borrowed life. What is much more material is whether even this realization is authentic?
I have spoken to thousands and thousands of people so far. And no less than a few hundreds of them have gone back realized. It is this realization that I am apprehensive of. Ignorance is imported, alright, of course, it has to be imported because, the nature is not to be ignorant, so it has to be imported. The trouble begins when even, when even…? Come on…
Listeners: Realization is important.
AP: When even realization is important and that is a big big trouble. So, don’t realize too quickly. I am very scared of enlightenment. We have somebody here, his favorite line is, “Now I realize (Everybody laughs).” He has been on a realizing spree since the last (Everybody laughs) three years or so. He is a serial realizer (Everybody laughs). Be cautious of your own confidence.
The ego likes to settle matters too soon, the ego likes to conclude too soon. Wherever there is a conclusion, wherever there is a settlement, wherever there is an ending that thought can grasp, it is a false ending, it is a false realization. I have no interest in talking about what true realization is like. True realization is anywhere not a subject matter of this course. We should rather warn of that which is false.
The ego can never be restful with loose ends, with uncertainty, with ambiguity. With things that are not beginning and not ending, with matters that seem absurd in a sequence of time, with issues that apparently do not have a cause, with actions that apparently do not result in anything, the ego will be restless with these. So, it will try to close matters, it will try to conclude, it will try to assert.
The assertion cannot be, “I do not know.” Because that is a very unstable assertion. If you do not know then responsibility upon you is to know. Sooner than later, after passing through a series of ‘I don’t knows’, the ego would quickly like to come to…
Listeners: I know.
AP: I know. Please be cautious of that. A few times the ego can accept this ‘I don’t know’. But that ‘I don’t know’ is unstable. The ego would want to cross over that, using knowledge, and knowledge is always…
AP: Imported. Understood (Pointing towards a listener)?
AP: Was the ‘Yes’ yours?
Now. remain attentive. Boredom was inflicted upon you by somebody. Watch out whether excitement true is inflicted by somebody. Does excitement ever arise from within? Can you be excited, without stimulus? Don’t so easily conclude, we don’t know. Better to stay in a position of finding out. So, go out an discover. See how it happens in the shopping malls, see how it happens in front of the television, in front of your mobile screens, in front of your love cronics, in front of the ones you hate. See how it happens.
You must watch the whole process. Watching the process is infinitely more important than coming to well-accepted conclusions. General truths are of no help to anybody.
“God rules.” “God made the earth and man.” How does it help you? It is not at all the whole Truth. It is just an imported axiom. Not even an axiom, because an axium means it is carrying at least some fact fullness. It is just rubbish. It is just something that you have taken as the Truth.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: The mind is not your own
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